The West Michigan Environmental Action Council hosted John Goss, Asian Carp Director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, as one of its keynote speakers at Tuesday’s FIGHT EM & FILLET EM Asian Carp Awareness Dinner.
Goss was appointed earlier this fall by the Obama Administration to unify, direct, and build momentum for a collaborative effort between the federal government, state fisheries and natural resource staff, local communities and stakeholder organizations to protect the Great Lakes from this invasive species.
Some of the points Goss highlighted in his presentation included:
- The federal government’s Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework, which consists of over 25 action plans and has invested tens of millions of dollars to focus on both short and long term actions to stop the advancement of Asian carp.
- Increased collaboration across all levels of government by integrating the Great Lakes states into the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee and natural resources staff from each of the eight Great Lakes states have joined as full partners.
- In the Chicago Area Waterway, more efficient systems have been deployed to monitor, sample and capture Asian carp. Larger field crews have been deployed to conduct electro shock and netting operations, increasing DNA testing capacity to over 100 samples a week.
- By January a third electric barrier in the Chicago Area Waterway system will be fully operational.
- Smaller waterway connections to the Great Lakes have been closed from New York to Minnesota.
- Last month, Indiana installed more than 1,500 feet of fencing at Eagle Marsh in Fort Wayne to block any advancement of Asian carp toward the Great Lakes.
- The Army Corps has completed a 13-mile stretch of fish barricade and fence to prevent transfer of Asian carp during flooding from the Des Plaines River into the Chicago Area Waterway system.
- Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey are aggressively researching pheromones that could help attract Asian carp for capture, sonic shock waves that could be used to repel or herd carp and reproductive interference that would halt the proliferation of carp.
- The Army Corps of Engineers has laid out the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Inter-Basin Study Management Plan, which sets forth ways to identify options and technologies that could prevent or reduce the risk of aquatic nuisance species being transferred between our rivers and the Great Lakes.
Goss was joined by Jim Bredin, the CEQ’s newly appointed Deputy Asian Carp Director, who is bringing 25 years of experience in Michigan’s state government. Bredin was involved with implementing many aspects of the state Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, including the Michigan Ballast Water Reporting Program.